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How to Install an AMD Athlon or Duron Socket A Processor
Last updated: 7/15/02

Inspect the CPU for Bent Pins.   If it has pins which are badly bent or you are not comfortable trying to straighten slightly bent pins, send the CPU back to from whence it came.  Occasionally I get one with some pins slightly bent.  I use a round, bench-mounted fluorescent light with an adjustable arm and a magnifying glass in the middle of the fixture, to inspect and work on CPU's.  You can look down rows of pins and diagonally from the edge of the CPU at groups of pins to see which pins do not line-up.   I use a small pair of needle nose pliers to very carefully straighten them.  This can be tedious and time consuming work, requiring an environment where absolute concentration is possible.  If you break a pin, as it's easy enough to do, you can kiss-off the CPU and its warranty.  I straighten pins by grasping approximately the top 25% of the pin and bending it ever so slightly.  Don't try to bend a pin at its base or you will probably break it.  Again, be very gentle.

Inspect the Heat Sensor. Many motherboards have a heat sensor (thermister) (3) soldered to the motherboard in the cutout in the middle of the CPU socket to monitor CPU temperature.  All of the ones I've seen on motherboards are blue with a white top.  If you can identify the sensor, inspect it to be sure it hasn't been pushed into the socket.  It should be very slightly above the top of the socket so it will makes good contact with the bottom of the CPU.  If needed, bend it gently upward--if you feel confident in doing so.

Unlatch the Socket Lever.  Push the lever on the side of the CPU socket (Socket A) slightly away from the socket to disengage it from the restraining tab (1) and lift it all the way to the fully vertical position (2) as shown to the right.  The socket is a Zero Insertion Force (ZIF) Socket.  When the lever is up, one should be able to insert a CPU with correctly aligned and unbent pins into the socket with almost no force.  I have seen them drop in without any force except that of gravity.

Insert the CPU. The socket has two corners without pins as does the CPU.  On the CPU, one of those corners is knocked-off.  Orient the CPU so the pins are down and the knocked-off corner is aligned with the corner of the Socket without pins which is next to the lever and carefully and gently insert it into the socket. Never force a CPU into its socket.  You may gently wiggle it a little from side-to-side to get into the socket, but if you force it you can bend pins.  If you force it a lot, the pins will get hot and may melt the solder holding them to the CPU--believe it.  Lower the CPU lever making sure it snaps into the locked position: all the way down.  Look around the edges of the CPU and make sure it is all the way in the socket.  The pins will be slightly visible.

It may  advisable to make a couple of dry runs at installing the heat-sink-fan before applying thermal compound, If you have never installed a heatsink-fan, have not installed a Socket A CPU before, or do not feel confident in installing this particular type of heatsink-fan.  Please skip below and read the precautions in the procedures before attempting it.

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